FILM REVIEWS: The latest movies from Emma Stone, Jason Statham and George Clooney

Westside has always taken a grown-up attitude towards adult entertainment in the Broad Street area. Now Cineworld and Odeon Luxe Broadway Plaza are showing the most explicit multiplex movie for years … 

POOR THINGS (18, 142 mins). Based on Alasdair Gary’s 1992 novel, this absurdist mixture of science fiction, black comedy, medical procedures and lots of sex adds up to an extraordinarily ambitious film from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos.

Cast and plot. After committing suicide, mum-to-be Bella (Emma) has been resurrected with her baby’s brain by disfigured surgeon Godwin (Willem Dafoe). With her learning curve rising steeply, she runs off with lawyer Duncan (Mark Ruffalo) and into a Victorian-era world of hedonism in posh places.

The verdict  **** After films including Dogtooth, The Lobster, The Favourite and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Lanthimos is rapidly becoming the kind of anything-goes director that Hollywood – and audiences – need many more of.

I can’t remember seeing an A-list actress / producer like Emma Stone giving so much of herself on screen as her frequently nude performance does here, especially in the post-Me Too era. The film arguably includes the most sex since Michael Winterbottom’s 9 Songs in March, 2005.

Like the barely-legible opening and closing credits, Poor Things tries too hard in places, but it’s never afraid to be bold.

The ultra wide angle / fish eye cinematography will warp your vision, the sets are way beyond Barbie and the air of Frankenstein meeting hyper-realised Moulin Rouge production qualities becomes increasingly unforgettable. The score by little known Shropshire composer Jerskin Fendrix is equally unconventional, but adds textures brilliantly.

Poor Things has the potential to both appall and baffle, to make viewers laugh in strange places and/ or to offer cinephiles a strong contender for their (certainly maddest) film of the year.

Though 20 minutes too long, nobody who lasts the course will forget Poor Things in a hurry. If it’s possible, auteurs like Stanley Kubrick will be trying to come back from the other side to see it for themselves.

THE BEEKEEPER (15, 105 mins). A one man army / ‘beekeeper’ is drawn into a world of computer scams and dodgy US presidential electioneering. Hello Derbyshire actor Jason Statham. 

The verdict *** Statham’s stubble usually means double trouble, so you can imagine that sporting a full dark beard under an all-white beekeeping outfit will soon leave action-hungry audiences buzzing for more.

When a lovely lady has her funds withdrawn by online criminals and an apiary is smashed, Statham goes to war in a film that’s halfway between Indonesia’s The Raid and Taken starring Liam Beeson (sorry!).

An 80s’ style, no-nonsense, ultra-violent B-movie, do ‘bee warned’… this will also make everyone more nervous about online criminals hiving off your funds.

Jeremy Irons offers rare class for this kind of movie, masterminded by Training Day writer and Suicide Squad director David Ayers who plans to remake Lee Marvin’s WWII thriller, The Dirty Dozen.

THE BOYS IN THE BOAT (12A, 124 mins). Based on a 2013 book of the same name, George Clooney directs this ‘Chariots on Water’ style account of rowers from the University of Washington attempting to qualify for the 1936 (Jesse Owen) Olympics.

Cast and plot. The Great Gatsby star Joel Edgerton coaches an eight-strong crew to the limit in ‘the world’s toughest team sport’. London-born actor Callum Turner plays Joe Rantz as the rowers attempt to gel on water. There are lots of shots of men in vests pulling oars, more oars and even more oars.

The verdict ** Clooney’s by-numbers drama undercooks the Berlin Olympics’ element by wasting too much energy getting there. Even Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water) seems to be all at sea – on a river!

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